My alarm goes off at 5 am, and then another time at 5:15. Ok I’m up, hopefully. I put on my khaki pants and white polo shirt, then I grab my green apron and hat. I head out the door and drive to work.
I enter through the doors as a loud bell rings letting the overnight people know that a paying customer has entered. I get a big loud, “Heeyy, Christian!” from the overnight cashier.
I look at her with my tired face and eyes squinting from the bright lights as I reply, “I went out last night to the bars and only got two hours of sleep. It’s too early for this crap.”
I go in the office and clock in for a long 10-hour shift and then proceed into the deli and relieve the overnight deli worker. I grab my hat and apron to put on and then simply lean against the wall, arms crossed, with regret on taking multiple Patron shots and dancing with random people last night. Waiting for the regular customers to order their food or ring them out as they brag about how we have the best stuff here.
“Ok, I’m ready for this shift to be over,” I tell myself.
For many of you that don’t know me, I work at a gas station. No, I don’t get free gas or come out of work smelling like gasoline. Yes, it has its fun days but it depends on who I’m working with. And OH YES, I deal and encounter with many different types of customers, good and bad.
Many people from all walks of life enter through those doors. There’s the usual customer who buys their coffee and lounge around the seating area and then there’s some who are in rush pre-paying gas, buying endless lottery tickets, buying some special color cigarettes, and then those who are just up to no good.
My slavery starts off with making “ready to go” food, from breakfast sandwiches to cold sandwiches and wraps. Flour wrap, mayo, grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Instead of two tomatoes, this wrap will get four slices this time. I’m not making a customer pay 7 dollars for nothing.
I wrap it as if I was rolling a blunt, then cut it and put it out for sale.
It’s the same routine everyday.
A lot of customers come to the deli to order their food but through a touch screen computer. The majority of customers love this method but there are also some who hate it.
The most common remarks I get are: “I have to order my food through the computer?” “What ever happened to the old school way?” “ I don’t want to order my food through the f—ing machine,” and then they punch the computer screen.
Some funny and dumb remarks are: “What is a turkey ham sandwich?” “What do you mean I got to pre-pay?” “ I want extra pesto sauce on my footlong. Nice, wet and moist.”
Once the customer on the five computers place their order, the machine says in unison:
“Thank you for your order!”
Bring it! Read the screen as it tells you what they want on their food. This guy wants an Italian combo on a wheat bread. I think this guy said light on the jalapenos. This one wants extra mayonnaise, and trust me, he’s definitely getting EXTRA mayonnaise.
Shoot, there’s no more avocado. I grab the microphone and begin to call the customer back to the deli through the speakers. There are days where I purposely talk through it as if I was Morgan Freeman and sometimes I call back the customers in a sexual voice.
Ok, it’s time to watch some customers and talk crap about them in my head.
Lady, I’m tired so go order your food somewhere else. OMG I made out with that one person last night. Ugh this little kid needs to stop playing with the machine. Look who’s here: Amy Smith from high school. Man, I haven’t seen her in awhile. I should say hi… or maybe I shouldn’t. Heard she’s a witch. Happy Halloween to me.
This guy over at the chip aisle looks suspicious. Time to bring out my binoculars. He grabs Lays chips while holding three Red Bulls. He places the small Red Bulls in his sweatpant pockets with the Lays chips. Looks like someone wants to have a rough day.
I’ve witnessed and caught many thieves at my job. I even approach them “kindly” by letting them know if they want to pay for the items in their pockets before leaving, they are more than welcome to. Items many customers attempt to steal are: ice cream, beer, baby wipes, condoms and tampons. I even caught someone stealing $85 worth of candy.
Many of them cooperate with me, while others have instead threatened to stab me with a knife, accused me of being a racist prick, or simply laughed at me and leave as I riskily followed them.
In some cases, I call the cops and have them arrested in a couple of minutes.
I scan the junk food filled with sugar. Candy. Soda. Chips.
“Your total is 73 dollars,” as I tell the lady.
“Ya accept EBT,” she replies.
I roll my eyes and nod my head. She swipes and then punches some numbers. The receipt prints. I hand it to her and she hastily snatches it from my hand.
“Watch her leave and get into a nice white BMW,” I think to myself.
I reprint her receipt and read her remaining balance of 900 dollars. “Someone is robbing my taxes and playing the government.”
I will never understand when a customer wants 1 4 8 5, 50/50 box straight for both and day evening. I stare at them with confusion. Like what?
Nor will I ever learn the many types and flavors of cigarettes. Each time a customer asks me for a Marlboro Special Blend Red 100’s, I typically ask them which red box is it.
Like, tobacco is tobacco. Does it matter if you want regular, Newport or Marlboro, special, ultra, mega, purple blend, 200’s? I will never conquer on deciphering the cigarette product and will continue to get yelled at by customers for ringing up the wrong cigarettes.
My favorite part of ringing up customers is being able to talk to them. The usual customers will end up talking to me about their daily problems. Then there are those customers who I actually talk to for a long time that in turn causes a long line with impatient customers that I don’t want to talk to anymore.
If they’re good looking and I feel some sort of connection with them, we usually exchange numbers. Sometimes I get call or text, and then there’s times where I don’t hear back from them.
It’s 4pm: time to clock out. See you later, Jerry. See you at the coffee spot, same time as everyday. Hey lady, order extra avocados next time, won’t you? There’s going to be a gas spill outside and I’m going to miss the officers arresting the guy leaving his pump running while shopping inside.
Before I leave through the doors, I turn around and look at behind me. There’s customers talking to each other and to my coworkers. Some are eating at the seating area reading the newspaper, while others are humming to the song playing out loud. Despite getting little sleep, burning myself from making sandwiches, and dealing with a lot rude customers, I actually enjoy working here.